Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Don’t Spare, I Mean, Spoil Any Details

I have this problem… with writing book reviews sometimes. As I write them out, I can’t express myself in the way I feel necessary to get my point across. Not that I can’t explain myself because I can. When I finish a book, I want to shout from the rooftops about how awesome it was (if it WAS awesome anyway).

My problem comes from the following: I don’t want to spoil any details for readers who have yet to read this book and plan on reading it.

There are so many things that you can include in a book review. So many things that you should include in a book review. Where is the line when it comes to spoilers?

By spoilers, I'm not referring to giving away the ending, or a huge secret that ties the book together. I'm talking about those minor details that are not spoken of in the synopsis, like a side story or a secondary character. And when you mention them, you might give away details that a reader may not want to hear and would rather discover on their own.

I almost feel like every review I should be writing will definitely be including spoilers. I just don’t feel like adding a disclaimer at the time like this: “Disclaimer: Spoilers! Read at the risk of ruining this book for yourself!” every time I post a review. My fellow bloggers will be scrolling down their list of blogs and come across my book review, see the disclaimer and say, “NOOOOO! I WON’T CLICK ON IT!” and then nobody will read my review.

Do you ever feel like this?

I think that’s part of the reason why it always took me so long to write a review for a book. I’d pick up the book to start writing down my thoughts on it. Scan through the book, look for certain scenes that aren’t too detailed, jot some notes down. Then I’ll read my notes and scribble out several things, add in new words, cross those off, write something in the margin with an asterisk next to the spot I want to add it into. And THEN, I get in my laptop and type it up. I read it over. I sigh. I’ll think, “If this were about my book, I would think this person took two minutes and threw this together,” even though it took me about fifteen.

Then again, I’ll read reviews and not care if I get details spoiled at times. It’s like when you’re told not to touch something because it’s hot but you touch it anyway. That’s how I’ve ruined some of my favorite TV shows. I’ll be browsing around looking stuff up online, then BAM!

Spoiler. (How could they do that?!)

Crap. (Stupid show, I hate you!)

Oh well. (Let’s go watch that episode now!)

Now I’m turning to you my fellow book review writers. How do you write your reviews? Do you include spoilers? Do you avoid spoilers? Do you just write brief reviews and include limited details about the storyline?

Thank you for any input, suggestions, and thoughts.



  1. Welcome back! It's hard to write reviews and not include spoilers. I personally don't mind reading reviews with heaps of spoilers in them. I don't think you can get a good enough feel for the book without them. Sometimes, I read a review without spoilers and feel like I've learned nothing about the book...but then again I'm one of those people who reads the last page before I start a book :)

  2. I struggle with the same thing! Sometimes its hard to get your feelings across if you can't tell your readers exactly what happened in the book that made you feel that way.
    I tend to write out my review, then go back through it and make sure I didn't put spoilers.
    However, when I 'reviewed' the Harry Potter series (I say reviewed loosely because almost everyone has read those) I used spoilers, but put SPOILERS in caps and big letters before, just it case people haven't read the book.

  3. I struggle with this so much because little pieces in the storyline often evokes the emotions felt and it is so difficult to get that across withouth giving away a couple little details. I try my best to avoid spoilers and have only had to give one away in a review so far.

    I think you should try to avoid giving out spoilers but if one set your entire opinion on the book it might be needed.

  4. Lan: I'm always clicking on book reviews of books I want to read, and even if I read the word SPOILERS I still read most of the time.

    S. Leighanne: I do the same, write it out, read it over, delete a line or paragraph of spoilers.

    Angie: That's a great idea, limiting spoilers to the ones it's necessary on.

    Thanks for all the great advice! It's actually going to help quite a bit with the ones I've been working on.

  5. I try to avoid spoilers too but it doesn't leave much to talk about. I find when I'm reading reviews of books I plan on reading, that for whatever reason, I sometimes just skim reviews if I do NOT want to know ANYTHING about the book. Other books, again for what ever reason, I just don't care about as much, and I'll read the review, spoilers and all.

  6. My main problem is that everyone has a different idea of what a spoiler is. What could be a spoiler to you might not be to me, and vice versa. If the synopsis doesn't mention the name of the love interest, but I mention it in my review (and say, for argument's sake that the book is a romance, so you KNOW there's a guy), is that a spoiler? To some, but not to others. I guess that's part of why I consider my reviews more just 'my thoughts' than an actual review so that I'm hopefully not giving away too much. At the beginning of all my reviews, I give info about the book, when it was published, by whom, where you can buy it, number of pages and at the bottom say 'May include spoilers' but it's sort of a small disclaimer that I hope for the most part people ignore so they don't freak out and not read it, like you said! lol
    PS - huge thank you for emailing me, I've emailed you back, now checking out your blog and I'm your 175th follower! :-)

  7. Jenny: You're right, it doesn't leave much to talk about if you leave out too much.

    SweetMarie83: Everyone has a different idea of what a spoiler is--very true! I think the line 'May include spoilers' is a good idea. I may have to use it.

    Thank you both!


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